I will respond publicly to you here once only. Out of respect to the other contributors to this thread any further personal conversations between ourselves I will conduct using, Max's personal message system.
When I 'ran off' I sent a very long personal message to you and all the other people who were kind enough to contribute to the 'goodbye' thread, explaining my reasons for leaving and to which you chose not to reply to.
For I could have only stayed at that point if I was prepared to continually challenge your behavior and attitude to other posters on any thread that involved the subject of Northern Ireland. It was not due to any lack of courage on my part. I was not prepared to do that for the divisions it would create. For the issues would have been lost and it would have become a popularity contest with you, in which I would come a very poor second. I think now, that was a mistake, I could have handled it better then. I am now prepared to do that. I suppose I hoped that someone else may have challenged you and I am a little surprised that no one has. They may be have but I doubt if you would have taken any notice. You probably will not take any notice of this anyway but I feel I have to at least try and get you to understand.
I think you are a very nice bloke, a good contributor to the forum and generally a good influence, except when it comes to this subject, which seems to bring out all of your personal 'Achilles heels'.
Well as you say in my absence, The Mudcat has continued. Did you seriously think, that I would think it would do otherwise? Why don't you try the same thing and just refrain from contributing to the Northern Ireland threads for a short period and see what happens? For I do really think that we all do know what your views are now (as indeed you know what mine are on this subject). I have found that just by lurking and really reading the threads, without being tempted to post, to be a better way of understand the whole dynamic of the subject being discussed. It could be a measure to take, that may enable you to "get it", as you put it. The concept of commenting constructively ON a thread, after it has ended, rather than commenting IN that thread, is something we might all try from time to time?
Mick even if only ONE person said that they were inhibited from contributing, by the tone of the debate, should you notlisten to that? You just seem to dismiss it, in the manner that Wolfgang refers to and which caused him not to contribute. It is not the topic that people are uninterested in or uncomfortable with, can you not see that? You admit that it is a sensitive subject, the nature of which means that the majority of contributors do 'walk on eggshells', I do not think that you recognize that they are mostly, doing that and that you, in my opinion, certainly do not take any extra care.
You talk about "fierce rebuttal". Why? Can you not see that there is never a need here for such thinking? It is not a personal battle, just a difference of views, all the more so in what you admit as a sensitive subject. You may disagree, but why would you ever need to be fierce in that disagreement and to what end?
Yes it was a valuable thread but that was despite you, not because of you. It could have been even better. Why should contributors to a thread need constantly be congratulated or be congratulating themselves on what a wonderful job they are doing and how wonderful their writing is? Is not a respectful and informed debate pretty much the normal course of threads on The Mudcat? Is that not why the disrespectful threads stick out so much? What is the point of stating that you have received an E Mail, expressing concerns, if you are just going to ignore those concerns and plough on anyway? Mick why don't you just stop talking, for a while and justLISTEN? Then you may just 'get it'.
Lamarca, in this post (and elsewhere) has taken the time and trouble to make a list of simple measures designed, if followed to make it possible for this forum to involve everybody on any subject. Others have also made many good suggestions as to how The Mudcat can be a better place in the future. Please read them. It would be nice to see any indication from you that you may consider for one moment that you may have made mistakes in the past and that you may be prepared to try and do things better in the future. That is pretty much all I would ask. Is it really too much?
"I Think, Therefore I Am (A Pain In The Arse)"